The backlash against charities buying and selling donor data threatens to wreak havoc in every sector, with a new consumer study showing just 2% of consumers believe third-party consent is acceptable.
Consent for the use of marketing data has been shrouded in secrecy for years, and while most consumers have questioned where companies have got their names from in the past, few have actually done anything about it.
But recent media coverage of charities has raised awareness of the practice and last month, it was effectively outlawed altogether in a First-Tier Information Rights Tribunal, although it is still too early to say how this will pan out in ptractice. Whatever the outcome, the measures are also likely to be adopted in the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is still going through the Brussels machine, albeit at a snail’s pace.
But if the results of the latest DMA and Media Octopus Customer Acquisition Barometer are anything to go by, companies will have to get their houses in order sharpish as 63% of consumers want just the company they deal with to use their data.
DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri warned that marketers are erecting obstacles to building trust. She added: “The relationship between trust and success is well established. Trust is not a vague concept, but to consumers it’s concrete, and so essential for business success. If businesses apply the DMA Code to their marketing activity, this will build consumer trust, and so make it easier to acquire customers.”
Last year 93% of marketers gave clear opt-outs at every stage of their marketing and the same number clearly stated how consumer data would be used. This year, those with clear opt-outs at every stage fell to 56%, and despite being one of the principles of the Data Protection Act, those using clear descriptions fell to 62%.
The study also busts the myth that content marketing is king by showing marketers would better advised to offer loyalty schemes, competitions, coupons and the ever-popular freebies as an encouragement to share information with a brand.
The study questioned 1,072 consumers about when, where and why they are disposed to become customers. This was supplemented with marketer surveys and focus groups.
Some 46% shared their data with a known brand, and 21% with an unknown brand in a loyalty scheme. For competitions, the figures were 33% and 23% respectively, for a coupon 31% and 20%, while for a free product or service it was 20% and 17%.
However, for content marketing, only 10% had shared their data with a known brand over the past year, dropping to 9% for an unknown brand.
There is also a noticeable gap between the approaches of consumer and business-to-business marketers, with the B2B sector lagging behind.
The study shows:
– 74% for B2C marketers clearly stated how data would be used, yet only 55% of B2B marketers did.
– 80% of B2C marketers explained why they needed data in the first place, but only 47% of B2B marketers did the same.
– 69% of B2C marketers offered opt-outs at every stage yet only 48% of B2B marketers did.
– 54% of B2C marketers have abandoned the small print, compared to 36% of B2B marketers.
The Media Octopus head of strategy Andrew Colwell said: “For most brands, the bottom line is critical. Ultimately, marketers tell us that they want their customers or prospects to share their information with a view to them buying more of their products or services. The CAB insight provides the intelligence to marketers on how best to achieve this. Surely, they should listen?”
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